SARATOV, RUSSIA: May 25 2009
A Clergyman of the Russian Church Abroad Takes Part In the Principal Solemnities of the "Days of Slavic Literature and Culture"
On May 24, 2009, the principal solemnities of the "Days of Slavic Literature and Culture" were held in the city of Saratov, Russia.
During the week prior to the commemoration of the Enlighteners of the Slavs, preparations for the feast began with a series of events important for the Saratov region: at scholarly conferences and work-shops, Orthodox film festivals and exhibitions, those who desired to were able to familiarize themselves in many and various ways with the life of SS Cyril and Methodius, the Equals-to-the-Apostles, to delve into the meaning of the Christianization of the Slavic peoples through the saints' invention of Slavic grammar and literature, and to understand the unifying role the Cyrillic alphabet has played for the Slavic peoples.
On Friday, May 22, the feast of St Nicholas the Wonderworker, His Eminence Metropolitan Yuvenaly of Krutitsa and Kolomna presided over the Divine Liturgy at Saratov's Cathedral of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, having flown in especially for the solemnities of the Days of Slavic Literature and Culture.
In the great hall of the provincial government, PL Ipatov, Governor of the Province of Saratov, officially inaugurated the scholarly and practical conference "The Slavic World: Commonalty and Diversity".
In the morning of Saturday, May 23, the bishops traveled to the city of Vol'sk for the consecration of Holy Trinity Church. The church had been consecrated two hundred years ago, but was demolished by the Bolsheviks. The city of Vol'sk is situated 60-70 miles south of Saratov. Metropolitan Yuvenaly led the consecration ceremony of the rebuilt church. Those remaining in Saratov continued the Conference, at which Protopriest Yaroslav Belikov, of SS Cyril and Methodius High School in San Francisco, delivered a lecture: "The Parishes Schools of the Russian Diaspora", in which he shared with the attendees the longstanding experience of educating the youth in the Orthodox spirit under the non-Orthodox conditions of the surrounding world.
After the close of the plenary session of the conference, in front of the entrance of the Samara State University, Metropolitan Yuvenaly, in the presence of the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, AA Avdeev, representatives of the local administration, and a multitude of students from Samara State University, Metropolitan Yuvenaly blessed a monument to SS Cyril and Methodius, noting that henceforth the students, when entering their university, would be reminded of the Christian roots of our literature.
On Sunday, May 24, the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Equals of the Apostles, after the Divine Liturgy in the region's largest church, the recently restored Cathedral of the Holy Protection, a procession took place from there to Holy Trinity Cathedral. Despite unexpected rain, about 6,000 assembled for the procession, headed by two hundred members of the clergy. In the square before Holy Trinity Cathedral, the city of Saratov was solemnly presented with a bell to be used annually to signal the commencement of the "Days of Slavic Literature and Culture". After the presentation of the bell, a bell-ringing competition took place.
In the evening, a musico-dramatic production took place in the Saratov Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, entitled "In the Beginning Was the Word", at which the commonalty of all the Slavic peoples was emphasized in artistic form. The production was broadcast simultaneously throughout Russia over the "Kultura" channel.
The solemnities concluded with a fireworks display that was visible from one end of Saratov to the other.
The following day, Fr Yaroslav and representatives of the Organizations of Young Russian Scouts were received by Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department of External Church Relations. During the course of the meeting, the representatives of the Organizations of Young Russian Scouts described their own activity in nurturing the scouts in the spirit of faithfulness to Orthodox tradition. Participants in the conversation considered possibilities for further collaboration in the context of work to support the younger generation of their Russian compatriots in the diaspora.